Rising cost of politics in Ghana paving way for corruption – CDD

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An exploratory study conducted by Ghana Center for Democratic Development has revealed that the rising cost of politics in Ghana has attracted illicit funding from organized crime.

The report disclosed that the cost of politics in Ghana is prohibitively high and notably increasing.

As the estimated costs of politics established from this study is much higher than previously reported estimations.

Increases in the cost of filing fees at both the party level and by the Electoral Commission (EC) with increases running over 500% also contributed to the rising cost of politics in Ghana.

According to the report, the large sums of monies used in political party campaigns make the process susceptible to demand and supply-side corruption and illicit money.

The absence of an effective campaign financing regime provides opportunities for ill-intentioned donors, local criminals, and organised crime actors to gain influence over elected officials by financially supporting their campaigns.

This not only undermines democracy, good governance, and the rule of law but also has negative consequences for economic and social development.

A 2018 report by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) revealed that the cost of running for office as a Member of Parliament (MP) increased by 59% between 2012 and 2016.

In 2020, CDD-Ghana with funding from the Adam Smith International (ASI) undertook a similar study to understand the role of money in Ghana’s campaign financing, investigate the sources of campaign funding, the role of illicit money, and the nature of illicit money in campaign financing in Ghana.

Monetization of Politics in Ghana

The rising cost of running for political office and the amount of money candidates must raise to contest elections at the constituency level and run as a parliamentary candidate is directly linked to both demand-driven and supply-side corruption, creating interdependencies.

On the demand-driven corruption side, party officials and delegates at the constituency level expect and or are given money and items of value to influence the election of a parliamentary aspirant.

This demand-driven corruption at the party primaries increases during the national parliamentary election.

Increases in the cost of filing fees at both the party level and by the Electoral Commission (EC) with increases running over 500% also contributed to the rising cost of politics in Ghana.

Interviews with party informants, past and current candidates and MPs revealed that aspirants/candidates have to nurture the constituency for a number of years, spending on voters in the constituency and financing the campaigns for the election of party executives and coordinators in the constituency nearly three years before they contest in the primaries, which we estimated at GHC 2 million.

A further estimated GHC 2 million is spent during the run-up to the primaries, bringing the total estimated amount to GHC 4 million ($693,000) which is up from up from GHS 389,803 ($85,000) CDD-Ghana and WFD study in 2018.

Recommendations

• The Political Parties Act must be amended to include prohibition of funding with illicit sources

• Donations must be tax deductible to encourage transparency in donation

• Campaign period must be defined as a way of reducing the rising cost of politics

• The EC and political parties must adopt a formula to determine the rate of increment in filling fees.

• Political parties must reconsider the candidate selection process to mitigate the cost implication in primaries

• Candidates must be required to file returns as it in the case of the political parties Increase public education to address demand-driven cost in elections campaign

 

Below is the full report

Press Release _ Rising Cost of Politics in Ghana

 

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